Ramon Llull University, Spain
Title: Assessment of physical activity levels, fitness and perceived barriers to physical activity practice in adolescents: Cross-sectional study.
Biography: Isabel Fernandez Prieto
During adolescence, teens often struggle with their body changes, mood swings and social issues. Preventative healthcare habits should be the corner stone of their health in the future. Recent studies show that in this stage there is a decrease in physical activity (PA) levels, along with high rates of overweight and obesity. Objective. The aim of the study was to assess PA levels and their physical condition (PC) related to perceived barriers (PB) and limiting factors of PA practice in a sample of a teenage population, considering a stratified sample of the dichotomy of being overweight. The secondary aim was to replicate the results depending on the gender. Methods. Cross-sectional study. One hundred and forty three adolescents (46.2% boys and 53.8% girls; median age of 15 years) of Secondary Education (ESO) in public schools of a randomized district (Sants – Montjuich) in the city of Barcelona. Variables assessed were: (a) PC (ALPHA-Fitness); (b) PA levels (Physical Activity Questionnaire PAQ-A); and (c) perceived barriers (Self-Report of Physical Exercise Barriers Questionnaire). Subsequently, the different variables were tested calculating means and standard deviations by the presence of overweight and according to the sex of the adolescents. The means between groups were compared with Student’s t test. Results. After dichotomization of the body mass index (BMI) variable, according to the classification of categorical weight established by the World Health Organization, were grouped into: 1) absence of adolescents with overweight (70.6%, 101 teenagers) and 2) the presence of adolescents with overweight or obesity (29.4%, 42 teenagers). The PC levels of those adolescents who were overweight or obese, tend to be significantly lower (p-value < 0.05) than those who not. Even so, no significant differences (p-value > 0.05) were found between groups for what they mean to the PA levels. Referring to the barriers, those that were related to the body images as well as to the physical and social anxiety were significantly (p-value < 0.05) different perceived by the group of adolescents with overweight; giving to them more importance. The results by sex showed how the PC and the PA levels of males were significantly higher (p – value < 0.05) than the female’s results. As expected, girls gave significantly higher (p-value < 0.05) perception to the barrier of image as well as the score of barriers for fatigue-laziness. Discussion and Conclusions: Significant differences in most results indicate that there is a relationship between being overweight or obese and worse PC levels. The variable sex (being a girl) and body mass index (being overweight or obese) have a significant direct relationship to perceiving major barriers to PA practice.